London - England great Jonny Wilkinson said
on Tuesday the "bar had to be reset at all levels" if the national
side were once again to become a global force.
Last week saw Stuart Lancaster stepped down
as England coach after the team became the first World Cup host nation to be
knocked out of the tournament in the initial group phase last month.
Lancaster's exit led England's Rugby
Football Union to initiate a worldwide search for a new head coach.
But Wilkinson, the drop-goal hero of
England's extra-time World Cup final win over Australia in Sydney back in 2003,
said there was more to making the national side successful again than just a
change of coach.
Former flyhalf Wilkinson said current
England squad members would need to demonstrate "a desire which is almost
impossible to keep down".
The 36-year-old was speaking at Buckingham
Palace after he was formally upgraded to a Commander of the Order of the British
Empire (CBE) - one rank below a knighthood in the British honours system.
Wilkinson, who received his latest honour
from Prince William, the second in line to the British throne, added that
closing the gap between Europe's elite and the southern hemisphere teams who
filled all four semi-final places at the World Cup would require
"resetting the bar at all levels, from grass roots up".
He added: "But that bar has to be
high, and then you have got to ensure that the enjoyment that goes with it is
even higher too, so that kids want to go out there and do it, so kids see this
"So, 'normal' for kids, and for
players in the Premiership league, 'normal' becomes what we used to see as
'exceptional'," explained Wilkinson, England's record points scorer, who
retired from all professional rugby union last year after helping club side
Toulon complete a French Top 14 and European Cup double.
Wilkinson, now a kicking coach at Toulon
and a media pundit, said he had no definite ideas on who should succeed
"I still look at it from a player's
perspective," explained Wilkinson, who quit Test rugby in 2011.
"I don't see myself as a coach, I see
myself as a player who doesn't play anymore."